ARTICLE | Cover Story

Creating a mosaic in HIV

March 18, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

U.S. researchers have shown that engineered, mosaic HIV vaccines could offer a better in vivo immune response to the virus than vaccines based on natural HIV epitopes.1,2 The nearly universal mosaic vaccines trigger a broad cellular immune response, but whether they will also trigger a broad humoral response and viral clearance needs to be tested in humans. An international consortium plans to do just that in a Phase I trial in about a year.

The primary challenge of HIV vaccination is generating an immune response to ever-changing viral epitopes. To complicate matters, HIV epitopes can vary from person to person as well as among geographic regions. And once an individual is infected, the virus can further mutate to avoid the host's immune defenses...